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DATE=5/31/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=CLINTON - RUSSIA (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-263009 BYLINE=DEBORAH TATE DATELINE=LISBON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: President Clinton is playing down expectations for his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow beginning Saturday. But he says the trip will be well worth it, even if there are no breakthroughs in disputes over U-S plans for a ballistic missile defense system and Russia's role in Chechnya. Correspondent Deborah Tate reports from Lisbon, where the president spoke at the end of a daylong U-S - European summit. Text: Mr. Clinton says he would be surprised if he and Mr. Putin bridged all their differences over Russia's crackdown in the breakaway region of Chechnya and a U-S proposal for a limited national missile defense system. But he says the visit will be -- in his words -- well worth it. /// Clinton Act /// Even in the areas where we may not have an agreement, in some ways that may be the most important reason for the trip of all. We should not only do these trips and these dialogues when we know we have a guaranteed outcome. Sometimes it is most important to be talking when there are still unresolved differences. /// End Act /// Russia has defended its operation against separatist rebels in Chechnya, but the United States has repeatedly expressed its concern and appealed for a political solution to the matter. Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres -- fresh from his own meeting in Moscow with Mr. Putin -- says he believes the newly elected Russian leader has taken some positive steps on the issue of Chechnya: /// Guterres Act /// I must say I was quite impressed by President Putin's determination in creating in Russia a democratic state based on a market economy and the rule of law. It was also clear, from our point of view, that even if our views on Chechnya are different, he said publicly he was committed to a political solution, and he announced his firm support to the inquiries to be made by an independent committee, his will to see the O-S-C-E (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) return to Chechnya, and to give better support to international organizations involved in humanitarian help, and he stressed there will be people prosecuted for violations of human rights in Chechnya. /// End Act /// On the issue of a U-S missile defense shield, Mr. Clinton says he has not yet decided whether to deploy such a system. He is expected to make a decision later this year. The president again defended the proposal, saying it would protect the United States from attack by what he called "rogue states" such as Iran, Iraq or North Korea. But Russia believes deployment of such a system -- which would require changes to the 1972 Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty -- would harm previous arms control efforts and could launch a new arms race. It is a concern shared by many in Europe. Prime Minister Guterres -- whose country now holds the rotating E-U presidency -- says the issue should not move forward without the consent of European allies. /// Guterres Act /// We live in the Northern Hemisphere, where we want to have a strong security situation. We believe we have built a lot on the past to create that. We believe that every new move to strengthen this must be as comprehensive as possible, as agreed by everybody as possible, and as corresponding as possible to everyone's concerns and to everyone's concerns and to everyone's preoccupations in this matter. /// End Act /// Romani Prodi, president of the European Commission, sought to play down the transatlantic differences over this issue, saying U-S and European allies are -- in his words -- increasingly joined together in their defense purposes. (Signed) NEB/DAT/JP 31-May-2000 12:13 PM EDT (31-May-2000 1613 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .